Working with truth

On with our theme of Satya, truth or non-lying. We’re shining the light of truth on our entire practice and on our many layers.

Nose to knee poses begin this week’s asana work. We’ll do it first of all with the knee bent, and then with the leg straight. Then we’ll move into all the bridges, and even work with the preparation for the wheel. Lying twists will follow, realigning the spine and stimulating the chakras.

We’ll come to seated through the boat, and then sit comfortably for a visualisation on the half-camel and the full camel. This is our challenge pose for this half-term. After our shoulder-opening counterpose, we’ll complete our asana work with a wide-legged forward bend.

Meditation features the symbol and the sound of OM, while relaxation is tense and release.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

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The Alzheimer’s Solution

I was reading about a book by Dean and Ayesha Sherzai. It explains their research into Alzheimer’s disease and they give a list of ‘Six things to do right now’in order to prevent the disease. The first on the list is GIVE UP MEAT. This absolutely echoes our theme of Ahimsa, non-violence. Most yogis are vegetarian or vegan precisely because of the first rule of yoga.

This week we’ll begin with dancing legs and then move into an inversion, the shoulderstand. On to the plough and the fish, before working with nose-to-knee postures. We’ll follow these with bridges and then spinal twist. Coming to seated through the boat, we’ll move on to butterfly knees, our rather amusing balance, Merudandasana, and then we’ll work with the classical half-lotus posture. Our challenge is cow-face posture and I’m hoping that our previous work will have opened our hips well. This will serve us here. We’ll complete the asanas with cosmic egg.

Meditation is repetition of the mantra ‘OM Mani Padme Hum’ – the jewel in the heart of the lotus.

Relaxation is repetition again – this time OM on the in-breath and OM on the out-breath.

Next week is class as usual, but the following week is half-term. So no class on October 27th.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Twist, twist and twist again

We’re continuing our focus on Karma Yoga. To serve our nervous systems, digestive systems and our spines, we’ll be working with twists.

The reading is an old Hindu rhyme: “Sow a thought, reap an action. Sow an action, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a characteristic. Sow a characteristic, reap a destiny.”

Let’s begin with lying twists. We’ll explore all forms. Next, we’ll move into nose-to-knee poses. Apanasana will be our challenge pose for this half-term. We’ll repeat the twist postures before moving on to bridges. A third repetition of twists will follow the bridges.

Coming up through the boat, we’ll proceed with seated twists. We’ll explore all forms. Then we’ll move into a forward bend, before repeating the seated twists. A backward bend will allow the spine to stretch out thoroughly before we repeat the twists again. We’ll finish the practice with the mermaid pose.

At a convenient point in the practice, we’ll use Kapalabhati.

Meditation is ‘sitting in your heart’ – the place from whence unconditional love springs.

Relaxation is going to focus on the breath, breathe in peace, breathe out love.

Remember Thich Nhat Hanh tells us that the world needs your happiness, so BE HAPPY!

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Raja Yoga

As we continue our journey through the classical paths of yoga, this week we’ll be looking at Raja Yoga. Raja means royal or king, and this is the yoga of meditation. Our previous subject, Hatha Yoga, has led us here through self-awareness and a growing knowledge of our inner being.

Let’s begin by looking at the world from a different angle. We’ll practise shoulderstand, plough, fish and the bridges. After a gentle twist movement, we’ll work with supine side-stretches. Coming up through the boat, we’ll move on to the camel. Those with knee problems will be given an alternative.

All standing for the mountain pose! This is the posture that we’re repeating each week this half-term. We’ll continue into the mountain sequence, with the arms shoulder width apart

Now let’s attempt the tree balance. Can we open the arms wide like branches?

Back to the mat through the squat and, after the cool-downs, we’ll meditate on SO-HAM. We ‘think’ the sound ‘So’ on the in-breath, and the sound ‘Ham’ on the out-breath. These two sounds mean ‘I am that I am’. Raja yoga leads us to a deep understanding of ourselves.

Oh, do let’s have some sunshine for our relaxation! We’ll work with Surya Kriya and recharge our batteries.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

More on hatha yoga

‘Patanjali gave us the blueprint for ways to unite the body, mind and spirit. One of the most common ways, he tells us, is through asanas or postures This is the yoga called HATHA, which involves using the body to change the internal state of mind and consciousness.’

This week we’ll begin with bridges. Then move on to the nose to knee postures. Lying twists follow, and up to sitting through the boat. Smile!!

Let’s work with butterfly knees, the tortoise and our favourite balance, merudandasana. We’ll visit with the half-camel and full-camel before standing for the mountain pose, the sun breath and salute to the moon.

The meditation is sama vritti pranayama with a twist. We’ll focus on the sun with the in-breath, the moon with the out-breath, and stillness for the hold of breath.

Relaxation invites each of the 22 main body parts to ‘let go’.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

Christmas class

Merry Christmas, everyone!

This week’s class will be very gentle and nourishing. Many folk feel fragile and vulnerable at this time of the year, so our yoga will come in behind us and support.

We’ll begin with gentle bridging using A – U – M to guide the breath. Let’s rest in the jellyfish pose, which is great for absorbing some bliss! We’ll repeat these two poses.

Coming to seated, we’ll work with A – U – M in a forward bend. Then rest and take a blissful moment. Repeat.

Coming to standing, we’ll use our A – U – M in a forward bend. Rest in mountain. Then repeat.

Tree of life breath with ujjayi breathing will keep us calm and steady.

Meditation will feature the sound of ‘OM’ on the in-breath and ‘OM’ on the out-breath.

In relaxation, we’ll touch base with the seed sounds to completely balance the chakras and the pranamaya kosha.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

We return to class on January 13th 2017 for the Friday classes, and January 19th for the Thursday class. Have a restful and light-filled break. Carole xxx